Ever since Christians were kids, Good Friday was the day that was put aside to mark the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It’s the Friday before Easter – which is the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the Spring Equinox – got that?
Sounds complicated, but the day Jesus was crucified isn’t all that complicated at all.
You see, the Bible isn’t so exact on births – it’s not necessary for us to know exactly when people were born, but when they died – it’s rather on target – and the day Jesus was crucified is spelled out in great detail, in John, chapter 19.
John 19:14-15 says in the New King James:
Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!”
What is Preparation Day of the Passover? It’s the day before Passover – the day that every Jewish person makes sure that all preparations were complete – the food was ready for the seder, and above all, all chametz (yeast, bread) was removed from the house – and that only unleavened bread remained.
All traces of it were removed, every crumb, every speck – it was required. It still is!
This year, that day was yesterday, March 26, 2021. Passover started last night (even though the seder won’t be held until tonight, as Passover falls on a Sabbath) – days on the Jewish calendar go from sundown to sunset. Next year, Passover falls on April 15, which means the crucifixion was held the day before – or April 14.
That’s easy, right? Find Passover on the calendar, the day before is the day Jesus was crucified.
John 19:31 NKJV shows that when Jesus died, it was still the day of Preparation:
Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
The Greek manuscripts used for New Testament translation today translate the Greek word Παρασκευὴ (Paraskeuē) as Friday but it is more accurately translated as preparation or day of preparation, and the Greek word πάσχα (pascha) as Easter, but it’s accurate translation is Passover. It’s derived from the Hebrew for Passover – or Pesach, and it’s where we get the term, the “Paschal lamb”.
First off, the later manuscripts used by the King James (the Authorized Version text), and the earlier manuscripts used by all other translations (the Westcott-Hort text) – agree on these translations, however the term “Easter” didn’t come into play until the year 325 AD at the Council of Nicaea through the Roman Catholic Church, and was merged into the pagan holidays celebrated on the same day – it kept things simple for them.
John wasn’t around in 325 AD, he wrote his books, under divine inspiration. in the 80s AD, and he died sometime in the 90’s AD, so he didn’t know the term Easter at all. He did, however, know the Passover, and he knew from firsthand knowledge when Jesus was crucified. He was there, after all.
As a Messianic Jew, I also know when the Passover is celebrated – and how it should be remembered by Christians. As Passover is remembered by Jews worldwide as deliverance from bondage in Egypt, it should be remembered by believers in Jesus Christ as our deliverance from the bondage of sin and Satan.
Passover itself, is a Sabbath day – which is why in verse 31, it states that the bodies should not remain on the cross as the next day was a High Sabbath. Other than Yom Kippur and Rosh Ha’Shanah – Passover remains as a High Sabbath – no work is done. Those bodies needed to be taken down and buried before sundown.
So, when is Resurrection Day? Is it Easter? Well, it could be, but most years, it isn’t. You see, the Catholic church had a little problem with math when it came to the “third day.”
Typically – there’s Good Friday, then Saturday, then Easter Sunday – there’s your three days, right?
Let’s see what scripture has to say.
There are four holidays in the spring, three of which are consecutive – one right after another. The fourth is the Feast of Weeks – which is Pentecost, which we’ll cover in a later message.
The first is Passover – since Jesus was crucified on the day before Passover, Passover is the first day.
The next day is the Feast of Unleavened Bread – Messianic Jews view this second day as the day that Jesus lay in the grave, and His body did not decompose. Yeast corrupts anything it touches and since there is no yeast during the days of the Passover, Jesus’ body didn’t decompose. This is the second day.
The next day is the Feast of First Fruits – the day when God gave His first fruits – the resurrection of His Son to us and the forgiveness of our sin – if we believe on Him, that He died with the sins of the world in His body (1 Peter 2:24), and was raised again on the third day, according to the Scriptures, we would be saved and have eternal life with Jesus in Heaven. This is the third day.
Three days – not two. He was not resurrected on the second day – it was the third day.
Some count the day He died as the first day, but the days spelled out in Exodus 23 and 34 and Leviticus 23, Numbers 28 are rather definitive. God commanded these feasts to be remembered for all time – not until the end of Malachi – but forever and ever.
Do you think that these feasts commanded for all time, was accidental? I don’t think so!
If the Bible is true and inerrant, then someone is taking liberties with the death of Christ.
I will not be a part of any heresy, and neither should you.
The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is foundational and fundamenal to our faith. Without that, we have nothing. The Apostle John is absolute proof that it happened – he saw it with his own eyes, and recorded it for all of us to discern.
It’s our only way to being with Jesus forever – and the only way that we avoid eternal torment in Hell.
Oprah says that there’s more than one way to Heaven – I beg to disagree. What Bible is she reading? I have multiple translations, and all of them agree that the only way is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you’ll be saved.
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:8-13 NKJV)
It’s easy to say “I believe” – heck, Satan believes. But do you really believe, with all of your heart, with every fiber of your being that Jesus died on that cross for all of your sins – past, present and future, and that if you confess your sin to Him, that He will forgive you if you are truly repentant.
Repentance means “to turn” – to turn away from your sin. The sign of a truly repentant person is when that person turns away from the sin of their former life, and shines the light of Christ in their reborn life.
Someone told me this week, that their pastor is doing a six-week sermon series on “rebirth” – it culminates this week. I asked her, “what did you learn?” She said that she couldn’t get it.
It doesn’t take six weeks to learn the Gospel – and what it means to be “born again”. Jesus was able to explain it to Nicodemus in one sitting in third chapter of John. I explained it to this girl in a half an hour. Did she get saved? Not then – but she now has something to think about.
You know – God places all of us in positions – to use our influence on others. In my case, it’s here, and in my home where I have caregivers who come to my home. God brings them here for a reason, and God will use you as well. Just ask Him where – and to give you that divine appointment.
As a believer in Christ, it’s your job.
Remember the end of the movie, It’s A Wonderful Life? “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings” – well, in Heaven – angels sing and rejoice at the salvation of another soul/ (Luke 15:10, “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Will you be that catalyst?
Will you plant that seed?
9 Replies to “So When Was Jesus Really Crucified?”
You cited only John’s Gospel. According to the three synoptic Gospels Jesus was crucified on the following day after He and His disciples had Passover meal. That of John makes crucifixion take place before the Jews had their Passover meal. The different if one day, but all four Gospel agree that the resurrection take place on first day or Sunday. At what time we do not know but even it took place before midnight of Saturday it is till counted as the first day as Jews reckon a day from sunset to sunset. The reason why the Catholic Church does not use Jewish Calendar is (1) it makes Easter fall not on Sunday and (2) as noted earlier there is one day difference between John and the three Synoptic Gospels on the day of crucifixion.
As for three days and three nights – it was Jesus Himself who prophesied that phrase. The confusion came when we interpret it to mean 3×24 hours. The Pharisees who were aware of Christ prophecy asked Pilate to secure the tomb until the third day, not until the fourth day. In OT Esther asked the Jews to fast three days, night or day before she met the king (Esher 4:16). She met him on the third day (Esther 5:1), not on the fourth day.
You hit the nail on the head – sort of. The pesach meal is eaten BEFORE Passover starts. I’ve never implied anything different.
As for Easter having to fall on a Sunday, but of course it does. It must follow the edict if the Council of Nicaea. The Gregorian calendar used today was also put into place by papal edict. We did fine for thousands of years without it.
Differences between the Synoptic Gospels are not all that different. It just so happens to be that John is the most succinct and detailed about it. The Gospels, if looked at as symmetrical, cannot be looked on as such. Some include details that others describe slightly differently, or omit altogether, depending on their audience. Matthew was written specifically to Jews, for example, and includes many references to prophecy, not included in some of the other gospels.
As a messianic Jew myself, I stand by John’s timeline. It melds nicely with the commanded feasts of our Lord.
If you follow Jewish calendar then Easter may fall on any day of the week. This year Pesakh starts from sunset of Marc 27. If you follow John then you commemorate crucifixion on March 27 before sunset. Those who follow synoptic Gospels will do it on March 28 before sunset.
Before Nicea Christians were divided on this issue. Some followed Jewish calendar and had Ester not on Sunday, and some did not because they insisted Easter must be on Sunday. After Nicea all Christians celebrate Easter on the same Sunday until the Catholic Church revised calendar, now known as Gregorian calendar, which is the International calendar we use today. Eastern Churches still follow the Old calendar (Julian calendar) and they celebrate Easter on different Sunday, most of the time.
When it comes to the Feasts and cele rations of the Lord, I follow the Jewish calendar, for civic and everyday use, I follow what everyone else uses, the Gregorian.
Notice that in the text, the Greek word Παρασκευὴ (Paraskeuē) which in the Gospels is translated “Friday” … and who knows, it may have been a Friday, we don’t know because we don’t have originals, just copies of copies of the original text, and depending on which basis you’re using, the Authorized or the Westcott-Hort, you’re liable to get different readings, but on this, they agree, it was the Day of Preparation. Now this could be Friday as it was the day of preparation for the traditional Shabbat – Sabbath, but in John, and other gospels, it’s specifically referred to as the preparation day for the Passover – also a Shabbat. Passover is traditionally never celebrated on a traditional Shabbat, and the Seder would be held that evening, after Shabbat was over.
Passover can occur on any day of the week, and therefore, so can the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. It wasn’t until Nicaea that it was standardized with Ishtar, which sounds a whole lot like Easter, the pagan holiday surrounding the death of the son of goddess of the same name. In fact, that holidays such as Christmas and Easter fall on the same dates as pagan holidays is no accident. It was a way to gain followers. To the pagan, Jesus was just another in the plethora of gods they worshipped, what’s one more.
You may celebrate Easter on any day you like – nobody will stop you – it is your business. The English word is Easter, other European language use Pasch or Paskah, which is closer to Pesakh. Saying that Easter is taken from pagan god name Ishtar is absurd and baseless – it is only based similarity in pronunciation. Remember the name of Jewish month Nisan also appears in Babylonian calendar. You are not under any obligation to celebrate Christmas either, just like we are not under obligation to celebrate Purim or Hanukah or Rosh Hashanah or whatever.
Again, I personally don’t celebrate Easter, I celebrate Pesach – Passover. This is one area where my Protestantism and your Catholicism have to agree to disagree, as well as my Messianic Judaism and Mainstream Protestantism diverge.
There is a lot of evidence regarding the pagan roots of Easter, including in the Vatican itself – the dictum from the Nicaea council itself says as much, so I would say that it’s no so absurd.
I agree with you that the name of the month of Nisan is of Babylonian origin. Remember, the Jews were in captivity there for 70 years, and some things did make it back to Israel. This was one of them.
I’m not knocking you on your celebration of Christmas or Easter, but facts are facts, and as such, being a student of church history, I’m just attempting to educate, and not color it under the veil of any specific denomination or sect.
The matter of calling a week or a month a certain way depends on the use of a certain language as well as name use of a certain time.
Remember in West Europe we also had other calendars than the Gregorian one. When the Napoleonic calendar was in use the Catholic Church used just the names of the months from that calendar, which was logic, because that was the calendar in use at that certain time. People born in that period are not considered not born at a certain day, but are considered born on the day of the Gregorian calendar which would fall on the day of the Napoleonic calendar.
Whatever calendar a person may use does not change the day in itself … son for each person wherever he would live, it would fall on the same day (but not always on the same moment, because the sun rises first in the East.) whatever name you would give to that day or month.
I always thought it was important that Jesus died before sundown on Friday (as the “first day”), and that He did die on that day, because of Mark 15:42. However, what you wrote makes sense.
He may have … who really knows today. None of the original written texts exist today. Just copies of copies.